Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Trump's sacrifices

Editorial cartoon by David Horsey
from the
Los Angeles Times. (Click to enlarge.)

I love political cartoons. I thought Plainfield Today readers might enjoy this one. It's by David Horsey, the editorial cartoonist of the Los Angeles Times (more about him here).

The trick with this type of cartoon is to riff on an issue or theme that is in the news in a way that uses the cartoon to underscore an essential feature or truth of the subject matter.

This particular toon riffed on Trump's retort to Khazir Khan's rhetorical question asking just what sacrifices Trump has made. Trump couldn't resist responding, setting Horsey up with a great premise for the toon.

The instant I saw it, though, several other references came to mind. (That's the genius of really good political cartoons.)

In this case, there was the visual reference, which immediately brought to mind Giotto's portrayal of the Crucifixion, with Mary Magdalene at the foot of the cross.

Crucifixion of Christ, by Giotto, with Mary Magdalene
at the foot of the cross. (For more on this painting, see here;
for more on Giotto, see here.)

Second, the giant "T" on which Trump is crucified is made of gold -- his signature, of course, but recalling William Jennings Bryan's famous acceptance speech at the 1896 Democratic Party nominating convention. (We are also reminded that early Christians also used the Greek letter "t" (tau) as a sign for the cross, which Horsey perfectly matches with his Trump "t".)

The issue in 1896 was whether to allow the free coinage of silver (along with the then gold standard). This inflationary policy would have expanded the currency available, making it easier for farmers to repay their loans. Bryan was in favor of using silver also, a policy which was known as bimetallism. The speech derives its famous moniker "Cross of Gold" (more about the speech and a link to a Bryan recording of it here) from its thundering last line:

[Y]ou shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns. You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.

Horsey includes as a fine detail Trump being suspended on his Tau cross by two silken neckties -- Trump ties? -- which also underscores the hypocrisy of his anti-offshoring talk and his actual business practice (his neckties are made abroad), completing the riff on the theme of "sacrifice".

This toon may have more to unpack than most, but that's what makes them fun.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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